Organ Transplants & Health Care
2 AnswersNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital answeredEven with immunosuppression, the body's immune system can recognize the new liver as a foreign invader and develop immune cells, called lymphocytes, to attack it. Many patients experience some degree of organ rejection, especially within the first three to six months after transplantation. This is usually easily reversed with medications. Patients are closely monitored after transplant surgery so that warning signs of rejection can be detected early.
1 AnswerNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital answeredAggressive expanded criteria protocols enable surgeons at both transplant programs to safely use more organs for transplantation. Expanded criteria organs are organs that may not meet the usual criteria for transplantation, but are nevertheless healthy enough for a successful transplant. Organs in this category include those from donors who are older, have hypertension or diabetes, who died from a stroke, or who at the time of their death suffered mild kidney injury. The use of expanded criteria organs is successful, especially among older recipients and those doing poorly on dialysis. It also allows donor organs that might go unused in one region of the country to be matched with appropriate recipients in areas of great demand (such as the New York metropolitan area).
Follow up care lasts for the lifetime of the patient and the plan of care depends on the organ received. The care plan can involve biopsies (tissue sampling) and blood tests, for example. Patients should also maintain a healthy weight, and not smoke or use illicit drugs. Liver transplant patients should not drink alcohol. Patients must take immunosuppressant medication for their rest of their life -- the only exception to this is a transplant received from an identical twin sibling.
1 AnswerIn general, patients have improved quality of life after organ transplantation; however, there is always the risk of organ rejection or graft failure. For the best chance of success it is very important that patients adhere to their post-transplant regimen of medications, follow up clinic visits, proper diet, and exercise. Transplant requires life-long immunosuppresant medication and attempts to stop this medication can result in severe illness including loss of the new organ.
1 AnswerIf you feel ill and are experiencing signs or symptoms of rejection at any time after discharge from the hospital, you should immediately contact the hospital:
- Fever above 100° F
- Weight gain of over 2 pounds for two days in a row, or a total of 5 pounds in a week
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Chest pain
- Either high blood pressure (systolic over 160 or diastolic over 110) or low blood pressure
- Painful or burning urination
- Sores or a wound that does not heal
- Flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, sore throat, earache
- Cough, with or without sputum
- Feeling fatigued, tired
- A general feeling of "under the weather" or not "up to par"
- High blood sugar levels: glucose over 250
1 AnswerIt means the body has recognized the organ as foreign (from someone else) and in doing so, the body fights the "intruder", attempting to eradicate it. The body is producing an immunological response to protect itself from what something it sees as an invader, just as it would for any other invader like a virus or bacteria that enters the body.
When a patient dies, the hospital must contact the local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO). A member of the OPO then determines if you are a designated donor or if you are a potential donor and if your organs are candidates for donation. Your family is contacted about donation, is asked for consent if you are not registered as an organ donor and is asked about your medical history.
If a determination is made that your organ can be used, it is removed, packaged and delivered to the transplant hospital. If the transplant hospital is near the location of your body, an OPO representative will transport your organ in a cooler. If the destination is farther away, however, a contracted team from that hospital or OPO will fly to the organ, pick it up and take it to the transplant hospital. You're your organ will be transplanted.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) is a database which keeps track of statistical information regarding organ transplants.
The SRTR maintains data on each facet of the transplantation and donation process that the registry collects from hospitals, local Organ Procurement Organizations and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Researchers, analysts, policy-makers and doctors use this information to set priorities and seek improvements in the organ donation process. Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., maintains the database.
When you make a living organ donation, you will not be paid. But the National Living Donor Assistance Center provides assistance to people who cannot afford the expenses they may incur when donating. This is not done to provide an incentive or payment for a donation, but is intended to remove any financial hurdle for people who would like to be donors but do not have the means.
Assistance may include the reimbursement of travel costs and some nonmedical expenses, such as lodging or meals. No assistance is available in cases in which expenses have been covered, or will be covered, by any other state or federal agency, through an insurance policy or by the organ recipient.
The organ recipient is expected to cover compensation of the donor's expenses. However, the program will evaluate financial needs on a case-by-case basis, and in some cases will compensate the donor. In some states, it is also possible to receive a state income tax deduction for lost wages.
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a unified transplant network, is administered by United Network Organ Sharing. It collects transplantation and organ donation data, drafts organ transplant policies and maintains a national computer network - matching donors with recipients. The OPTN maintains waiting lists, determines the priority order of the lists in each individual case and contacts appropriate transplant hospitals.